DeskSave: a lightweight program to save and restore desktop icon layouts


Desksave is a free, lightweight program that saves the icon layout on the desktop according to the current screen resolution and can restore it at a later point if needed, either manually or automatically.

It features a number of interesting options, including portability, shell integration into the right-click context menu, and the option to run from the command line.

This is the third program of its kind that I am featuring on Freewaregenius (I’d previously reviewed DIManagerX and Shock Desktop).

My experience with these kinds of programs is that they are strangely unreliable, especially in relation to whether ’Auto Arrange’ and/or ’Align to Grid’ are enabled. Each of the programs above offers its own set of features and advantages, but Desksave brings a number of things to the table that has made it my desktop-icon-saving program of choice; (these are the first four points outlined below):

  • It’s reliable: i.e. it works, whether ’Auto Arrange’ or ’Align to Grid’ are turned on or off, it does what it purports to do (and does not force you to re-check Align to Grid if it was checked to begin with. Note that for this as well as other similar program it might be necessary to perform the icon restoration multiple times in order to get everything back exactly the way it was, depending on how mixed up your icons become.
  • Can live in the context menu: this program can be accessed from the system tray or (optionally) in the context menu. I never thought that context menu access would be desirable for a program like this, but in practical terms I’ve found this to be extremely useful (I would even say this is my favorite feature). There is something intuitively appealing about right-clicking to restore the icon layout when you need to.
  • It’s lightweight: a mere 78,5 K for DeskSave.exe, and 79.5K for the shell extension.
  • Portable: this is a no install program. Adding (or removing) Desksave to the context menu can be done within the program dialog.

Other features as follows:

  • Saves to file: you can optionally save the icon layout to file, which is useful if, for example, you like to maintain the same icon layout on multiple computers, if you need to clean-install your OS and get the icon layout back later on, or if you simply would like to back up your saved icon layout.
  • Auto restore: can be set to auto restore icon layout after certain events take place such as a resolution changes or program start or resume from standby/hibernation. Did not use this functionality personally.
  • Automatic backup: of current and saved layouts
  • Accepts command line parameters: did not use this personally.
  • Other features: auto save at logoff, unicode support,

The verdict: I’ve been using this program for weeks and I am extremely happy with it. As stated previously I like that its very small, I like that it can be accessed from the context menu, that it can be run portably, and most importantly that it delivers the goods. Highly recommended.

Version Tested: 8.1.2

Compatibility: Windows 98, 2000, XP and Vista (32 bit).

The program page no longer exists, but you can download ver. 8.2.1 of the program here.